VER SINCE I first encountered that guy, I’ve been puzzled by him. Do you know him? I’m sure you do. That guy can be found on every major blog or forum. If the post is about blueberries, his comment is: “Here’s the Wikipedia entry on blueberries.” If the post is about furniture, his comment is: “Here’s the Wikipedia entry for furniture.” Why does he persist? Apparently, that guy feels special because he knows how to do a Google search and ardently desires that we praise him. But doesn’t he realize everyone knows how to do a Google search?
I’ve noticed a similar attitude when it comes to folks “discovering” the 1962 Missal. Certain people act as though they were the first to learn of its existence. I once saw a man displaying this attitude toward an elderly priest. I became angry and could hardly keep silent. I wanted to scream:
“Don’t you realize this priest attended the Latin Mass throughout the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and early ’60s? How dare you display such an attitude? Have you no sense?”
Yet, the elderly priest just stood there, perhaps realizing that words would be wasted on this person. After all, some people just don’t get it. Years after I’d started my collection of rare Solesmes books, a retired musicologist asked me—in the most serious way imaginable—if I owned a copy of the Liber Usualis. Week after week, he continued to ask me the same question. I think I eventually stopped answering him.
I know a blog author who spends inordinate amounts of time “chasing down” people he feels have stolen his exclusive news items. He desperately wants the whole world to appreciate how AMAZING he is. His plight is made more difficult by the fact that most of his “original blog articles” are copied & pasted from the Fox News Website.
HY DO I BRING all this up? The fact is, people who constantly try to POSSESS beauty & truth secretly loathe them. Truth & beauty are only valued by such people if they can be presented as “breaking news,” gaining the adulation of others. When someone describes a wonderful film, some people cannot simply nod their heads and say, “I love that film, too.” Instead, they feel compelled to say, “I saw it before you did.”
I know a liturgist who seemingly cannot help himself. Whenever anyone discusses hymnals which mutilate original texts for no good reason, he feels compelled to point out that the original version of HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING was “Hark, How All The Welkin Rings.” He was making this same argument all the way back in the 1990s. His students have been known to bait him by deliberately mentioning “authentic hymn words”—and without fail he tries to shock his listeners by means of the “Welkin Rings” example.
I’ve had some of my original ideas stolen by bloggers, and this used to annoy me like you wouldn’t believe. However, I’ve come to realize that truth & beauty should be loved for their own sake. It’s silly to try to “possess” them. One of my friends is fluent in eleven languages, and always seems to hear breaking news before anyone else. Yet, this same person has “ghost written” hundreds of articles going back all the way to the 1960s. Only his closest friends realize that all those brilliant ideas—for which others take credit—are the product of his brilliance.
In college, I took elementary Latin with a genius named Stanley Lombardo, even though I’d previously had four years of Latin in high school. Dr. Lombardo was probably the best teacher I ever had. Even when he was explaining the most basic concepts, I learned so much.
A PRIEST WE ONCE HAD began every sermon with verse 9 from the first chapter of Ecclesiastes: “There’s nothing new under the sun.” How true that is! What’s really interesting is to watch old presidential debates. For example, Al Gore fought George Bush about “nation building” and “overextending the U.S. military”—but you’d be amazed to see who espoused which positions. Walter Mondale fought Ronald Reagan over “an out-of-control deficit” and “terrorists illegally crossing the Mexican border”—but, again, you’d be amazed at who took which position.